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Taking-up the challenge: A digital society that can ensure inclusion for all!

EASPD to raise awareness of Assistive Technologies as a human rights enabler at the United Nations in New York

On the 13th June the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) will co-host a side event at the 11th Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). The event will focus on the role of assistive technologies to enable people with disabilities to enjoy their rights.

Held in New York, and co-hosted alongside the European Union, the side event will provide EASPD with the chance to share its experiences on how assistive technologies, through the context of support service provision, can contribute to enabling individuals’ independence and participation to the community. The event will also include a discussion on the main barriers and opportunities for the further uptake of technology and how this can be facilitated.   
EASPD Board Member and Chair of EASPD’s Interest Group on Person Centred Technology, Evert-Jan Hoogerwerf, will speak on the event’s panel alongside representatives of EU institutions including MEP Adam Kosa and Senior Expert on Disability at the European Commission, Inmaculada Placencia. Mr Hoogerwerf will highlight that Assistive Technologies must be seen as the human rights enablers that they are, in addition to calling for these technologies to be mainstreamed across sectors, to ensure that all people can have their support needs met with the appropriate solutions.    
With the social sector slow to take up the challenges of a digital society, however, more must be done to remove barriers to the adoption of technology in services. To help to overcome these barriers we must further implement co-production methodologies, both at policy and service level, with users, social services, families and the industry together at the same table as the authorities that fund support systems.
Speaking from New York Mr Hoogerwerf emphasised that the uptake of assistive technologies by support services “requires an additional paradigm shift and systematic change at all levels, to ensure that we use an empowering approach towards individuals and promote opportunities for people living as independently as possible.”  
Looking to the future Mr Hoogerwerf stressed that:policy developments in the area of digital technologies often lack a long-term vision, hindering the development of sustainable policy frameworks which support the further uptake of these technologies by the social care sector.”
From Brussels EASPD Secretary General Luk Zelderloo highlighted the need for additional funding to facilitate the use of assistive technologies in key areas; especially in those areas that are linked to living in the community,” adding that,rather than simply representing a cost, this is an investment in the rights of people with disabilities and their full participation in society which can even support inclusive economic growth.”
The "Assistive Technologies: services enabling independent living and inclusion" side event will take place on the 13th of June, from 18:30 to 20:00 in Conference Room 4 at the 11th Conference of States Parties to the UN CRPD, New York.
To find out more about the event, click here.